'Communities United against Hate' DVD launched in Lancashire

A DVD that sends out a powerful message against 'hate crime' has been launched today.

The national DVD, which highlights the damaging effects of hate crime and encourages people to report it, has been produced by a small team of volunteers from Preston & Western Lancashire Racial Equality Council, Lancashire County Council and Lancashire Constabulary.

Fully accessible and free, the DVD shows Lancashire and other parts of the country as diverse places that welcome people from every community.

The DVD was filmed in Birmingham and some of Lancashire's libraries. Library visitors and other members of the public were encouraged to volunteer to appear in the DVD saying a powerful message against hate crimes in their communities.

The DVD is based on the 'Lancashire United Against Hate' DVD, produced in 2010 which was officially launched at Preston North End's Deepdale football ground by His Honour Judge Russell. The value of this DVD was recognised nationally by the Ministry of Justice as a resource for tackling hate crime.

This government department commissioned the partnership to produce a DVD for a national audience, using the Lancashire version as a template. It has been distributed to over 300 organisations and has been viewed by over 11,000 people.

Faruk Desai, Chief Executive of Preston & Western Lancashire Racial Equality Council, said: “This small team should be congratulated on producing such an innovative and powerful free resource to help improve service provision for victims of hate crimes”.

The event, which is being held at Lancashire County Council's Woodlands Conference Centre in Chorley, was hosted by Chief Superintendent Bob Eastwood from Lancashire Constabulary:

“It’s a real privilege to host such a prestigious event which demonstrates the commitment to eradicate all forms of hate crime. This event and launch provides us with an opportunity to work together to ensure we keep communities alive to the real damage of hate crime.

"Anyone who is a victim of hate crime can report it to the police on 101 or on the Constabulary website – www.lancashire.police.uk. People can also report to the local council, housing association or on the Race Equality Council free racism helpline on 0808 808 7398."

One of the people responsible for commissioning the national version of the DVD was Superintendent Paul Giannasi who manages 'True Vision' for the Association of Chief Police Officers.

Superintendent Giannasi said:

"We have recognised for some time that one of the greatest challenges relating to hate crime is the need to reduce under-reporting and the Government committed to increasing reporting in its manifesto.

"ACPO and our partners believe that one of the best ways to help local partnerships is by recognising and sharing good practice from local initiatives and we do this through our dedicated hate crime website True Vision. (www.report-it.org.uk). The Lancashire video is one of the best examples we found and we were keen to share the benefits with other areas.

"The video not only encourages victims to come forward to report crime but also helps to encourage positive attitudes and to promote integration in communities. We are very grateful that the local partnership agreed to produce a national product that builds on the success of the local initiative but will be available for police, educators and communities across the country."

The final presentation was made by Gordon Taylor, Chief Executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association who explained the steps sport has taken to tackle discrimination.

Mr Taylor said: “For the last 25 years the PFA has actively encouraged and financially supported a social responsibility programme for football which has inclusion, equality and anti-racism at the top of its agenda.”

The leader of Lancashire County Council, County Councillor Geoff Driver, is proud that Lancashire is at the forefront of the national fight against hate crime:

"I would like to put on record my thanks to and admiration of the various organisations in the county that have worked so hard on this hugely important national project.

"Having watched the DVD myself, I'm not surprised that it has received such positive feedback. The testimony and contributions are persuasive and powerful."

The main video can be viewed here.